Located in downtown Miami – right across from the Government Center Metro stop – the museum is a pivotal institution for the preservation of Miami's multicultural past.
Among its recent additions is HistoryMiami's Center for Photography, which will be hosting their second exhibition ever, Awakening Jamaica, from Aug. 6 through Nov. 1, 2015.
See relics of Miami's past inside HistoryMiami year-round — Photo courtesy of HistoryMiami
In recent years, the Museum of HistoryMiami has more than doubled in size, after taking over the space formerly occupied by the Miami Art Museum.
Now boasting 100,000 square feet of real estate, the museum is able to feature a much larger array of items from its permanent collection, while bringing in larger exhibitions from around the world.
With this latest exhibition, the museum will be granting visitors the chance to see a rare piece of Jamaica's history – especially significant to Miami's large Jamaican diaspora. Awakening Jamaica will feature over 50 prints and various other items from the collection of photo archivist Patrick Montgomery.
Printed from large glass negatives, the collection is rare for a number of reasons. The images themselves were solicited by a group of businessmen in the late 1800s looking to stir up positive PR for the economically-struggling country.
HistoryMiami has been the cornerstone of research in Miami since 1940 — Photo courtesy of HistoryMiami
Taken by Valentine & Sons of Scotland, the photographs depict the island as a place ripe for tourism and commercial use. Depicting everything from ships in Kingston Harbour to sugar cane cutters in rural lands, the images were then exhibited in the Jamaica Pavilion of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.
Over the past decade, photo archivist Patrick Montgomery has worked diligently to collect these long-forgotten photographs. He first reached out to HistoryMiami in 2013, donating a small portfolio featuring eight original prints, and he's since assisted the museum in their efforts to create a compelling exhibition the whole community can enjoy.
Photographers and history buffs alike will be excited to view a collection of over 50 original prints, as well as additional items related to both the 1893 World's Fair and the Valentine & Sons photography studio.
Those who've never been to HistoryMiami before can also enjoy the rest of the museum's permanent collection and their current main exhibition, Operation Pedro Pan, detailing the journey of thousands of young, unaccompanied Cuban immigrants to South Florida during the early 1960s.
The opening reception for Awakening Jamaica happens Thursday, Aug. 6, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. There will also be a Jamaica-themed Family Fun Day on that Saturday, Aug. 8, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., complete with storytelling events, crafts, and more. Both events will be free to the public.
Visitors are always welcome to check out the exhibition during museum hours, Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.
Admission is just $8 for adults, $7 for students and seniors, $6 for kids ages six through 12 and free for museum members and children under the age of six.